As I read the article it all made sense and I knew where the author, Lauren Piro, was coming from. The areas she confronted are a constant struggle for many of us so I completely understand sending up the white flag. And, to Lauren’s credit, leaving these areas disorganized is not going to prevent you from reaching your ultimate goals in life. However, as the person who comes in when these areas become overrun with clutter and cause daily frustration, I can attest to the fact that some level of organization is necessary. After all, organization is about making your life easier by living lighter and more efficiently.
All of this got me thinking… maybe we need to address some of these areas in a more simplistic way and just get real about the level of organization needed to make life easier and not add more work to the to-do list.
So, here’s what I have for those who would still like to have a little order to their chaos…
Junk Drawer – It doesn’t have to be perfect, but a junk drawer still needs to be manageable so you can find a 9volt battery when you need it. A junk drawer can easily and quickly be organized by dividing it into sections with drawer dividers and keeping similar items together (e.g. batteries, pens/pencils, office supplies, tools, etc.)
Photos – I completely agree with Lauren that many of us don’t have time to scrapbook (I know I personally don’t); however, printed photos in a box will never get looked at and they will only take up space. Don’t even bother printing them. Drop them into an online photo album that can easily be shared or printed into a beautiful book with the few clicks of a mouse. The book will take up less space, look great as a decorative accessory and be easier to flip through.
Laundry Room – While we don’t entertain in the laundry room, we do want to make it a pleasant place to be. After all, many of us don’t enjoy the task of laundry so it’s important to keep the space looking good so that we can keep ourselves motivated and so that there is enough space to work in the room. Using decorative bins for loose items is a simple way to remove the visual clutter from open shelves. Tidying up the space on a regular basis will keep the piles of clothes at bay, the dust to a minimum (in what can be a very dusty room) and keep you on top of your detergent and pre-treater levels so you always have back-up supplies.
Kids Play Area – Organizational skills can be taught at a very young age. While it is not the end of the world if My Little Pony gets put with the animal figurines, the play space will always become a disaster if the munchkins are tearing about the whole area looking for something that isn’t in its proper home. Keeping items in their home will make life easier and will teach kids the benefits of organization at a young age. Keep them involved in clean-up time so they become responsible for being able to find things. Staying on top of this type of work on a regular basis (even once a week) prevents things from getting out of control later and creating one of the most overwhelming and time consuming sorting and organizing projects you will ever encounter. (Check out my Springpad Notebook “Organize the Play Space” for tips on making over your child’s play space.)
Nail Polish – Sorting through 10 or 15 colors every time you paint your nails can be annoying to say the least. I’ve witnessed many of my friends’ and clients’ chaotic drawers/bins and the process they go through to find the color they want. Keep the colors neat and tidy by taking a Q-tip and dabbing the color on top of the lid. This way you won’t have to pull out every single nail polish to find what you want and you’ll easily be able to keep the colors in order.
Serving & Cooking Utensils – Purging is always helpful, but even after a purge you may still be rifling through things to find what you want. Using drawer dividers, split the drawer into sections to easily organize the items you use on a regular basis (if you have more than one drawer, use one for baking utensils and one for cooking utensils). Then, put the once or twice a year items in a canister that gets stored in the pantry. After all, you don’t want to be without that turkey baster come Thanksgiving.
This past February I had the special honor of being enlisted by the Katie Show to help the host herself face the clutter demons plaguing her home office. The project was a quick fire challenge—allowing only 7 hours to complete a full transformation-, but this is the kind of challenge I happily accept. It was a super tight turnaround, but with a lot of preparation and a fabulous, hardworking team I was able to pull it off and completely de-clutter Katie’s home office. A lot of great solutions came out of our work together, many of which can be seen on the Katie Show website, as well as some additional tips that I posted here.
The entire experience with Katie and her team was absolutely wonderful, so there was not a doubt in my mind when the show called me in August to ask if I wanted to help with another segment. The focus this time? Katie’s master bathroom. While I knew it was going to be another tight turn around, I was relieved to know that we were focusing on a smaller room. However, as you can see from the show, the size of that small room had no bearing on what was packed in there. We pulled out bag after bag of products, samples and bathroom accoutrement, spent a lot of time sorting, editing and figuring out how to make it all work for her again, only this time, better!
It has been nearly two months since we started on the journey to de-clutter Katie’s master bathroom, and today I am super excited for everyone to see the newly neatened space. I hope that America loves these tips as much as they did last time and can even put some of them into immediate action in their own homes. Since not everything could make it into the show, below are some additional tips and ideas that I thought I’d share from the transformation. Also, be sure to check out my Springpad notebook to see all of the items we used in her master bathroom as well as in her home office!
Pull-out drawers – Low-level, deep cabinets can often result in wasted money as you forget what was purchased, and either never use the item or go out and buy it again. Stop losing money and things to the depths of your under-sink cabinets and maximize the space by adding a pull-out drawer so everything stays visible and easily accessible.
Vertical Space – This is not just a tip for the bedroom or office, don’t overlook the vertical space in your shower. With products such as the Command™ Shower Caddy you can add more storage space while freeing up some square footage in the corners, shelves or seat of your shower. The entire line of Command bath products has water-resistant adhesive strips that are super strong, and damage-free. Unlike suction cups, these products hold strongly and remove cleanly so you can reposition them at any time.
Back of cabinet doors – This is an often overlooked but PRIME area of real estate in many rooms, and the bathroom is certainly no exception. Using the back of cabinet doors is a great way to store some of your most highly used items while opening up some square footage in cabinets and on shelves. We used this trick several times in Katie’s bathroom by using StickOnPods® on the medicine cabinet doors for her makeup, as well as Command clear caddies on the vanity cabinet doors for hair brushes, makeup remover, etc.. This is also a great place for storing your hair dryer or curling iron by using a Command hook
Adding a POC – As I mentioned last time, there is something about a little pop of color or special design detail that can sometimes bring a smile to a person’s face. It is a special touch that I love to incorporate when I can, which is why I lined the back of katie’s medicine cabinet with a decorative paper. I wanted to give her a bit of subtle flair that would help her want to keep the space neat and tidy. Since regular paper can be hard to work with in the bathroom, I suggest using wallpaper, or some other type of coated paper that will hold up well to the humidity and dampness. Chicshelfpaper.com is a great place to find lots options with various finishes to withstand the bathroom environment.
Below, in one of my Springpad notebooks, are a bunch of the other items that we used for Katie’s Bathroom. Follow the link below to Springpad to click on any item to find out more info or to purchase!
When it comes to organizing, I like flexibility, which is one of the reasons I’m in love with SHUFFLE Tidy from the London based company RALLI Design.
This stacking cylinder system (made-up of six ceramic cylinders, six wooden bases and a wooden plinth) allows you to customize your very own configurations by removing a cylinder’s wood base and stacking the cylinders to create your perfect tabletop organizing solution. The configurations seem endless as you can use each cylinder individually to store and stack small items like pushpins, paperclips, jewelry and hair ties, or you can remove the wood bottoms and combine several cylinders to hold larger items like pencils and pens, nail files and hair brushes.
Unfortunately, this good looking organizing solution is not yet available in the US, but fingers crossed it will be here soon to help us neatly contain all our tabletop thingamabobs and doodads.
I am a huge fan of weekend projects, and I especially love projects that allow me to use old items I have around the house, or inexpensive things I can pick up at my local thrift store or craft store. I find the creative process of the project to be a rewarding and productive moment of solace from the everyday stresses that surround me.
The projects: Two great floor mats that are easy and cost-effective to build, and have great style (see below). Had I had all the supplies necessary, I would have had quite a crafty hurricane experience. Instead, I have added the ideas onto my list of fun, future projects.
While most men don’t have many grooming products or accessories, they do have some important items in both the bathroom and bedroom that need a home. I have often found that if men (and women too) don’t take the time to organize and designate areas for their products, they will most likely land up being placed wherever there is an open space. This ultimately leads to large amounts of clutter and disorganization. Here are some tips that I shared last week with Lesley Nagy, from Better TV, on how to prevent this and help men get a bit more organized.
Quick tips from the video:
Cologne Tray – Place your cologne on a decorative tray to keep them neatly organized in one area and to protect your furniture from oils that could ruin its finish.
Decorative Storage Box – Utilize a small, compartmentalized storage box to keep special items like cuff links, tie tacks, sunglasses, a lucky penny, a special note from your significant other, etc.
Pocket Tray/Bowl – Use a small tray or decorative bowl to unload your pockets. This will keep your daily items such as your keys, wallet, lip balm, gum, etc all neatly organized in one place. It will also make it easy to grab everything the next time you get dressed to leave your home.
Designate Product Areas in the Bathroom – Give your products a designated home to keep things organized and ensure everything gets put away properly. Think of categories such as shaving, hair products, facial products, oral hygiene, etc.
Shave in the Shower – Invest in a fog-proof mirror and do all of your beard trimming and shaving in the shower. It will help you get a more comfortable shave, make clean-up a breeze and keep your sink area whisker-free.
Move Excess Product – If you are working with a small bathroom, move your excess product to a hall closet or neatly organize it in a storage container that you can place on the top shelf of your bedroom closet.